Menopause Minute: in the news

Welcome to Issue No. 4 | #MenopauseMinute

There’s no doubt the number one common denominator in the “second puberty” phase a.k.a. menopause, is hot flashes.

Every woman I’ve spoken with in menopause all say it started with an uncomfortable heat that seemed to come out of nowhere.

In case you’re wondering: hot flashes have the same sensation you get when you feel embarrassed.

You know how you start to feel hot inside and then your underarms start to itch and then you feel like your whole face is red? That’s it! Only intensified.

There have been many times when I’ve felt like I was going to pass out from the heat.

Did I mention? It can even happen in a cool room or winter.

The good news is, at least in my case, hot flashes tend to decrease during cooler months.

Thank goodness!

In the news

Fox 8 Cleveland News put together a helpful piece on coping with hot flashes. It included some practical tips.

Here’s what they said:

The most common complaint women have during menopause is experiencing hot flashes. There are many ways to manage them without medication.

Nonpharmacological options include:

 

  • Dressing in layers.
  • Carrying a portable fan.
  • Exercising.
  • Making sure to regulate the temperature in your home.
  • Making your bed so you can take blankets off if you need to.

End of article

For your health information: #BeautyMadeBetter

Right now, cosmetics companies can put just about anything in their products – even chemicals associated with cancer and endocrine disruption.

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced a bill that would require cosmetics companies to prove that their products are safe before marketing them and would give the federal Food and Drug Administration the power to review risky ingredients.

S.1014 – Personal Care Products Safety Act

This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require cosmetics companies to register their facilities with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to submit to the FDA cosmetic ingredient statements that include the amounts of cosmetic’s ingredients.

Companies must pay a facility registration fee based on their annual gross sales of cosmetics.

The collected fees can only be used for the cosmetic safety activities.

If you’d like to learn more about the bill click HERE

If you’d like to support the bill, click HERE for the Environmental Working Group website.

Information provided by the EWG website and congress.gov

End of article

What do I say to someone diagnosed with cancer?

It’s breast cancer awareness month and this means you can buy anything pink. In fact, I challenge you to find something not pink during this month.

Unfortunately, though, what you can’t buy with those pink items is an education about breast cancer (or any cancer) including, prevention.

And while I’m so happy we can talk about breast cancer considering there was a time when women suffered in silence, I do think we need to do more than “pinkwash.” I think education should be the focus.

So today, let’s start with three things you can say to the newly diagnosed should you find yourself at a loss for words.

3 Simple Phrases

 

“I’m sorry”

The reality is this; there are no words of wisdom at a time like cancer. The word “cancer” alone can clear a room or a social calendar. It can render you speechless.

Saying these these seemingly little words can convey you’re concern and care without saying things that could offend. You can always go back later and say more heartwarming words once you’ve collected your thoughts.

“What can I do?”

I think these words speak volumes especially for the newly diagnosed. I remember walking out of the breast clinic the day I got my diagnosis and thinking, what comes next?

Chemotherapy is big, ugly and scary and each person has their own reaction to it. So just knowing you can count on someone to do anything for you is comforting.

“I’m gonna love you through it”

These are words plucked right out of Martina McBride’s song entitled “I’m gonna love you through it.” But they are perfect! However you say it, the best thing you can say is that you are going to be right there with them. There’s no greater gift.

 

end of post

under (re)construction

Hello friends! It’s Friday July 27, 2018—I hope this finds you staying cool, and looking forward to a good weekend.

To my cancer fighter readers, I hope this finds you on a good day.

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. That’s because a few weeks ago I had the final surgery of delayed breast reconstruction (yay!).

I’ve been recuperating.

This surgery was to remove breast tissue expanders a.k.a. spacers, and replace them with permanent breast implants.

What is a breast tissue expander? A breast tissue expander is an inflatable breast implant designed to stretch the skin and muscle to make room for a future, more permanent implant.

The breast tissue expanders are seen here on the left. Not every expander looks the same. I’m a very petite woman and each surgeon has their preference.

Why do you need expanders? Once you have a mastectomy you don’t have a pocket (or space) to hold implants so the surgeon creates one using “spacers.”

It took me four years to get to this place. Reconstruction doesn’t typically take as long as mine did. Many (like Angelina Jolie) opt for immediate reconstruction following mastectomy.

That was my intent, too. But everyone’s body and circumstances vary.

In my case, when my surgeon removed my breast tissue (I had double mastectomies) my skin rebelled. It quickly started to change color. When the skin changes color it may mean the skin is dying off due to lack of blood supply.

This is a complication called, Necrosis.

When my surgeon saw my skin reacting negatively she determined it was better to back out of immediate reconstruction and give my body and skin time to heal. And I agree!

At the time, she didn’t know if the skin issue was going to end up being a complex situation.

Thankfully, it was not! Within days my skin was back to normal.

I could have jumped right back into surgery to finish the job but I wanted to take a timeout to just breathe and heal emotionally. And, I wanted to restore my immune system before doing so.

Cancer, chemotherapy and surgery are taxing physically and emotional. I needed a break, so I took one.

Two years later I went back to the same plastic surgeon. This time my experience was a disappointing debacle.

I’ll share more about that in another letter but for now, I just wanted to touch base with you all. And, I like to try to keep my articles shorter than normal for people on the run.

Update on my blogging challenges.

I haven’t given up on my blogging goals. If you’ve been following me you know what I’m talking about, if not, you can read more about that here..

I continue to learn ways to better myself as a writer, content creator and blog designer. And I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned.

But if there’s one thing life is teaching me it’s that you don’t have to do it, grasp it or be it, overnight. It takes time and patience.

Have a great weekend!

Always, Imperfect April